San Gabriel Mountains Poised to Become National Recreation Area

San Gabriel Mountains and Los Angeles Sky Line | Photo by USFS Region 5

The National Park Service (NPS) released a study last week, detailing how California's San Gabriel Watershed and Mountains might fit into the National Park System.

The Draft San Gabriel Watershed and Mountains Special Resource Study and Environmental Assessment is now open for public review. For Angelenos, this potentially means more protection and outdoor recreation.

According to the news release from Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, "the study area covers approximately 700,000 acres of land in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan region, including urban communities, local and regional parks and open space, and 415,000 acres of the Angeles National Forest."

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The NPS determined that the study area is appropriately significant, is naturally unique in the park system, and would be collaboratively managed by various regulatory authorities, not just NPS.

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis of La Puente, Calif., and Senator Barbara Boxer and U.S.
Representative Judy Chu also support  the recreation area study and idea.

In the Draft, four alternatives were assessed in order to predict the long-term impact of various management strategies. In each suggested alternative, the U.S. Forest Service would retain control over the Angeles National Forest portion of the study area.

Alternative D
The Alternatives Include: "¨"¨
  • No-Action (Management stays as is)
  • A: San Gabriel Mountains National Recreation Area: A U.S. Forest Service Designation
  • C: San Gabriel Watershed National Recreation Area
  • D: San Gabriel Region National Recreation Area: A Partnership Linking Significant Resources and Recreation

According to the press release, Alternatives C and D would embody a "new model of national park management where the NPS, U.S. Forest Service, and numerous other agencies and organizations with land and interests in the area would work collaboratively."

Community members advocated to incorporate many of the new Draft's initiatives, citing the need for healthy outdoor recreational space to combat obesity and diabetes, and the potential economic boost a NRA designation would provide for local business and tourism. The Draft also incorporates an exciting trend for linking Los Angeles outdoor, open spaces in a larger network.

"By including a new alternative in this report, the National Parks Service has demonstrated a willingness to listen to the community which sent in thousands of comments.  Now, the next crucial step is for the public to attend the Oct. 29 and Nov. 14-17 hearings," said Daniel Rossman in a recent press release of San Gabriel Mountains Forever, an organization dedicated to preserving the mountain range in the Angeles and San Bernardino National Forests.

After this round of public input is received, the final report will be sent to Congress, along with Salazar's preferred course of action.

Public Meeting Schedule

El Monte (Kick-Off Meeting)
Saturday, October 29
1pm - 3 pm
City of El Monte Senior Center
3120 N. Tyler Avenue
El Monte, CA 91731

Monday, November 14
7pm - 9pm
Larry Chimbole Cultural Center,
Joshua Room
38350 Sierra Highway
Palmdale, CA 93550

Tuesday, November 15th
7pm - 9pm
Agriscapes Center, California Polytechnic Institute Campus
4102 S. University Drive
(South of Temple Avenue/ From Highway 57, exit Temple Avenue and go west towards Cal Poly Pomona. Turn left on South Campus Drive, Agriscapes is the building adjacent to the Farm Store).
Pomona, CA 91768

Santa Clarita
Wednesday, November 16th
7pm - 9pm
George A. Caravalho Activities Center
Santa Clarita Room A
20880 Centre Point Parkway
Santa Clarita, CA 91351

Thursday, November 17th
7pm - 9pm
Northeast Valley City Hall Auditorium
7747 Foothill Blvd
Tujunga, CA 91042

For ongoing environmental coverage in March 2017 and afterward, please visit our show Earth Focus, or browse Redefine for historic material.
KCET's award-winning environment news project Redefine ran from July 2012 through February 2017.

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